Plate 108 - Bachman's Hare

John James Audubon

Published by New York, 1845
Condition: Very Good No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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John James Audubon Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America 150 hand colored lithographs: each 27 ¾" x 21 ½" New York, 1845-1848 In the 1830s, as the final plates were being completed for John James Audubon's monumental Birds of America, the artist began to gather material for his second and equally ambitious undertaking. Planning to complete the definitive study of American wildlife, Audubon set out to document the animals of North America, and to present them in a format as impressive as that he used for his birds. Moreover, despite his advancing age, the great naturalist was determined to make the journey to the American West to personally document the little-known wildlife of the frontier. Following in the footsteps of Catlin, Bodmer, and Miller, Audubon was only the fourth artist to travel up the Missouri River. He arrived there before Christianity, smallpox, syphilis, gunpowder, and alcohol changed the frontier, its native peoples, and its wildlife indelibly -- even if these forces had already made their presence felt -- and his Quadrupeds offer us one of the great pre-Civil War glimpses of the West. The Quadrupeds, as Audubon envisioned, would complete his record of the animal life of North America. Audubon began the project in 1839 from his home in New York, where at first he solicited specimens from his correspondents throughout the east, recommending that animals be sent to him preserved in "good common rum." His assistants in the endeavor were his sons Victor and John Woodhouse, as well as John Bachman, a Lutheran minister who had been the artist's closest friend and supporter for many years. The artist's enthusiasm at the start of the project was unbounded. In 1840, Audubon wrote to Bachman: "I promise you that I will give the very best figures of all our quadrupeds that ever have been thought of or expected I am growing old, but what of this? My spirits are as enthusiastical as ever, my legs fully able to carry my body for ten years to come Only think of the quadrupeds of America being presented to the World of Science by Audubon and Bachman." By 1841, Audubon had drawn one hundred figures, including thirty-six species, for his new book. It soon became clear, however, that not all animals were available to him in the East, and moreover he was determined to use "drawings made on the spot and not from stuffed museums' moth-eaten remains." He began to plan for his trip west, a journey he had wanted to make for twenty-two years. In March of 1843, one month before his 58th birthday, Audubon set out on the last great trip of his long career. He traveled down the Ohio River to St. Louis, boarded a steamboat bound for the Upper Missouri, and rode as far west as Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone. His eight-month journey was unprecedented in American natural history. The result of the naturalist's years of field research, travel, and seemingly endless study was the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, the outstanding work on American animals produced in the 19th century. The arduous journey, however, took its toll. Still, Audubon managed to complete seventy-seven drawings before failing health kept him from his work. Before his death in 1851, Audubon's sons managed to solicit some three hundred subscriptions for the Quadrupeds. Together, the three men, along with John Bachman, produced an unequaled record of American wildlife, matching the great combination of art and science attained in the Birds of America. Like that series, the Quadrupeds are wonderfully animated, superbly rendered, and beautifully printed in large format. As one reviewer wrote, the American people should be proud, for "in the 'Quadrupeds of America' we have at last a Great National Work, originated and completed among us.". Bookseller Inventory # 002092

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Plate 108 - Bachman's Hare

Publisher: New York

Publication Date: 1845

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Very Good

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The world's largest selection of the works of John James Audubon, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, historically important maps, natural history engravings and watercolors, lithographs of the American West, Californiana, Hawaiiana and Western Americana. Located at 432 Jackson Street in Historic Jackson Square, San Francisco, and online at www.aradersf.com.

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